After having 24 hours to think about the most recent let down out of this years Nevada football team, we stumbled upon this thought and we will use the Hawaii game as an example. For those of you fans who are trying to lay the blame of this loss and the New Mexico St loss on a particular unit (yes, we have been reading the comments of many Nevada fans and their thoughts on these games) please consider the following ideas for your consideration.
When a player or unit makes a mistake, what do they do to correct it? We doubt that any unit is going to be "perfect" all game. So lets look at what is done in regards to imperfections.
Offense: Had two early turn overs in the first half that resulted in two Hawaii scores. The unit then came back to score 14 points in the fourth quarter to make it a tie game with 1:30 left.
Colin Kaepernick: Had a fumble that was returned for a TD in the first quarter. He then ripped off a 60 yard TD run to make up for it as well as leading the team on two 70+ yard drives in crunch time.
Vai Tuau: Had a fumble when going in for a score that resulted in Hawaii scoring. He then ripped of an 80 yard TD run to make up for it and accounted for 160 yards rushing.
Marko Mitchell: Had a ball hit him right in the hands that would have resulted in a first down. He then made a great block on Vai's TD run and then a great play on a fourth down pass for a TD in the fourth quarter.
Chris Wellington: Dropped a sure 1st down that hit him right in the chest. He then caught the tying TD pass on a 34 yard post route with 1:30 left in the ball game.
Now here is where PWtW has an issue....
Defensive Secondary....you give up big play after big play. Where is the interception or pick six or corner blitz that results in a fumble or sack to make up for it? NEVER HAPPENS! Not in crunch time of critical games. Seems like the defensive front makes 90% of the big plays. Do you realize the offense got FOUR PLAYS IN THE ENTIRE THIRD QUARTER? You let Hawaii dink and dunk you for 5:39 and 3 points to start the quarter. The offense came out and tied it up on a one play drive. And then you let Hawaii score on a TD in 1:44 to take the lead right back. Oh I know, the special teams unit didn't help you by giving them the ball on the 50. We'll get to them in a few. Then the offense has a rare three and out and you respond by letting the Warriors take the next 7:01 off the quarter, go 80 yards, and score another TD at the start of the fourth. Is that your way of punishing them for not giving you a break? You could have came up with a big play last night on that last drive. No instead you let them march 80 yards down the field in a minute and not only score, but score a TD so it made it next to impossible for the offense to try and bail you out.
Special Teams (punt return team and kick coverage team specifically)....you gave the offense the following starting field positions (1, 2, 5, 14, 15, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 30, and 44 yard lines). That's THREE drives starting inside the FIVE YARD LINE. There was one return to the 44. Where is the kickoff return for TD? Where is the punt return for TD? This season? FAIR CATCH IT if you are that afraid of getting blasted. At least the ball doesn't bounce 10 yards. Meanwhile, Hawaii started out at the (20, 22, 23, 29, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42, 49, 50). Not one time inside the 20? EIGHT drives starting at the 35 or better? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
I'm sorry but for those fans of you blaming the offense for this or any other loss: SHAME ON YOU! This is a unit that is top 10 in the nation in numerous categories. They aren't always perfect, but they do a damn good job of making up for their mistakes when they do make them. Meanwhile our pass secondary is DEAD LAST IN THE COUNTRY. We start with poor field position and we give the opponent great field position. And we expect perfection out of the one group that is doing a great job in order to compensate for the weaknesses of the rest of the groups or we gripe and complain about them?
We also have a hard time accepting the "young unit" comments (excuses) that we hear. These are not 18 year old true freshman playing secondary for Nevada last time we checked. They should be able to turn and look for a ball. The sickening thing is that most of the time they are in position, they just don't look.
As for special teams, there is a reason this group hasn't returned a TD in 10 years on a kick off and in 7 years on a punt return. These units needs immediate attention. Up until just this year we didn't have a consistent punter and look at what a difference bringing in a guy on scholarship has made this year. Time to put starters and big hitters on the kick cover team. Do you really ever see anyone outside of McIntosh sacrifice to bust a wedge? We need some line backers and full backs running down field, not DB's.
This is a Nevada team that should be 6-2, bowl eligible, and contending for a WAC title. The offense and the defensive front is good enough to be so. It is truly sickening to watch any player with a right arm and a pulse throw the ball around on us like they are the second coming of Joe Montana to Jerry Rice.
There is still time for this team to right the ship. A bye week gives 13 days to fix problems best that can be and a 4-0 finish (or even a 3-1 finish) would be an improvement over last year. Time to drag yourselves out of the gutter and play with the heart of a winning football program.
Lets go coach Ault. Get these guys to believe and get these problems shored up. You have the players to beat the next four teams. Just go out and do it. Nothing to lose from here out.